Letters: Women right to fear burglary

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The Independent Online
Sir: Both Polly Toynbee ("Crime is up! Hit the moral panic button", 25 September) and the letters you printed in response (2 October) miss the point about elderly women's fear of crime.

The biggest factor must now be burglary. Most people have seen either their own homes burgled or the homes of people they care about. Their fear of crime is no longer based on news stories. It is based on their real personal experience.

Young women, as well as old, seem to fear the intrusion of burglary more than men. There is no comfort from the police, who can only tell them that there is small chance of the burglar being caught, that no preventive measures will stop burglars getting in if they really want to and that their having been burgled once makes it more likely, not less, that they will be burgled again. For elderly women living alone the greatest fear is that, next time, they might be at home when the burglars call.

Most of the elderly women I work with face these realities with some resilience, but few are wholly unscarred by the experience. Some part of their life is really spoiled.

The Rev MATTHEW BAYNHAM

Vicar

St Luke's Church

Cradley Heath,

West Midlands

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